Monday, August 31, 2009

Warning: I'm climbing onto my soap box for this one!

I don't like horror movies. In fact, I've never watched one all the way through because I don't want to put images in my mind that will be with me the rest of my life. Oh sure, the constant dwelling on them may fade, but things like that have a way of resurfacing unannounced, like when BD is on a business trip for a week and I'm crawling into bed and hear a noise. I've spent many nights in agony thinking about "what might happen". I don't need to make things worse. Why would I choose to do that to myself?

The same applies for anything of a perverse or sexual nature. Other people may do horrible things, but why do I want to put those ideas in my mind? While a naive flight attendant of 22, I happened to see a postcard of a perverse sexual nature on a street corner in Athens, Greece. It was in one of those turn-racks, right next to the picture of a sunset over the Parthenon that read "Wish you were here". That image is now burned into my brain and pops up at the worst times. Before that, I hadn't even imagined such aberrant things were possible. I'll remember that image until the day I die. Is it possible to be too sensitive in this area? I don't think so. Every act starts in the mind. Who knows where one step will lead?

Anyway, while at the library with my girls the other day, I walked by the shelves in the teen section and one book in particular caught my eye. It was obviously new and expensive. On the cover of the thick, glossy book jacket was a photo of a pretty little girl's dress made of white silk strewn with tiny pink roses. I was intrigued by the photo and by the title, "Living Dead Girl". The back breifly mentioned that it was an abduction story. I like mystery, especially if there's a happy ending as the pretty cover seemed to indicate, so while my girl's were in the children's section, I sat down and started to read the first few pages.

I wish I hadn't.

It was an abduction story, all right. Told from the first person perspective of a 15 year old girl who'd been abducted at ten and kept as a sexual slave by her captor. It wasn't a fantasy, like a vampire novel, or a Harry Potter tome. It was reality. It was told in great detail. Told graphically. There were things in those first five pages that will haunt me the rest of my life, details you would never hear about on the news or even said outloud on the street. Those pages deeply depressed me to the point that I walked around distracted and on the verge of tears for a few days. I tried to stop replaying it in my head. I begged God to let me stop thinking about it, and the worst part of it is that this book was in our public library that our tax dollars are paying for and was in the TEEN SECTION.

I admit that I'm a little naive, especially for a forty year old woman. But I don't think I'm a prude, nor am I am I legalistic in any way. I may not agree with what an adult chooses to read or fill their heads with, but I don't have the right to tell an adult what to do (unless they are a serial killer. :-) Then I might tell them to stop killing people!) But it scares me to death to think an unsuspecting young mind could innocently pick up that book and have pictures of these sexual horrors in their heads. And even scarier is that someone made the decision that this was suitable reading for teenagers. If someone is caught doing the things that were done in this book, we call them a monster, more animal than human, someone without a conscience. But reading about them being done to a child is OK. And hey, it's enlightening for young minds to be exposed to all sorts of things, right? I pray every day for the Lord's protection to be around my childrens' thoughts.


Elephantschild said...

Nearly the entire "Teen" genre is a cesspool. I'd rather have a teen reading adult fiction. The quality of the writing tends to be better as well.

My Thoughts Exactly said...

Did you report it to the librarian? Things like that make my blood boil. I know we cannot protect them from everything, but that is really completely unacceptable. I'd be willing to buy that book from the library and burn it to get it out of circulation. Start a revolt!!!!

Monica said...

Crazy! I was just talking to a friend tonight about the books at library in the juvenile section that seem out of place. There's no way to be able to read all that the kids read- it sure would be great to be able to trust that the library is putting worthwhile information on the shelf.

You know, you can turn that book into the children's librarian and ask her to review it. My b-in-law did that at the Brownsburg library and they reshelved it to the adult section.

Claire said...

The teen section at the library is such a joke. My dd loved "The Princess Diaries" movies. We borrowed the first book on tape, and popped it into our tape player in our car. At the first few lines, I knew she wouldn't be listening to the entire thing. The main character is a snotty, disrespectful brat! She started out bad-talking her mother. DONE.

I'm thankful my dd is more into Christian fiction. She is 15 and hasn't even read the Twilight books, because I think they are too sensual (though there is no graphic sex, at all). Call me a prude. I don't care. :)

penguinsandladybugs said...

I hear ya!! There are images from the movie "Saving Private Ryan" that are burned into my's been over 10 years! Never underestimate the power of your brain's ability to recall! I'm sure the book you are talking about drew a visual picture....that's the worst!!!

Laura said...

I sooooo totally agree with you. This post really hit a nerve - especially with everything that is gong on in this crazy world - and the unbelieveably aweful stories that keep surfacing. What is happening and how do we protect our little ones????

Sniz said...

My sister told me I should have brought that book to the librarian too and had it taken from the teen section. I hadn't thought of that, quite honestly, but next time I'm in there, that's what I'm going to do. Claire, my daughter and I had the exact same experience with the Princess Diaries. What are the chances of a movie being so much cleaner than the book these days? Within two pages my 12 year old daughter said, "Mom, I shouldn't read this book. It's not a good book." Not only is the main character a brat, but she talks about how she wishes the popular boy at school would stick his tongue down HER throat instead of sticking down someone elses. Ahem. No thanks.

Anyway, thank you so much for all the reaffirming comments!

Oh, and Penguins, I refused to watch Saving Private Ryan just for the reason you mentioned...I knew if I did I'd never get it out of my mind! (I'd already heard that from several people).

Tracy said...

Right there with you! I have even tried NOT getting the newspaper until they put something positive on the front page. (Then I get the paper to know what is happening in our city...Maybe I didn't want to know.)
I had a similar postcard experience overseas, only it was a "newsstand" in Eastern Europe-I was so accustomed to the "warning signs" in our culture, that I was completely shocked that no one was warning me with a "black bar" across something or the 3 x's to turn me away. It was a quick lesson in being very discerning about what I turn my eyes toward. (Still as an adult I can be fooled-by something like a nice cover on a "children's book.")
Thanks for your post.

Rebekah said...

I'm like you. I still have vivid images in my head from bits of movies I've seen

Reading the last part of you post, I can just imagine what those 'details' are. Blah!

I also carry images around in my head from some of the cases here at my police department.

I wish I had a delete button for my brain.

But even more appalling is that this book was in the teen department. That is truly a horror!

Kimmie said...

I am always amazed (in a disgusted kind of way) what the libraries buy for *new books* Way too much darkness coming in...too much. I pray before we begin each school year, asking God to protect us at the library and to help us have discernment as we are chosing what to bring home with us.

Glad your daughter told you about that book-yup, hard to get that stuff out.

I am constantly saying to my kids, garbage in, definitely garbage WILL come out.

mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted

Jeanine said...

That is just despicable. I hate going to the public library for that very reason. Kids see things before I get a chance censor them. We stick with their school library (Thankfully they are in a Christian school) or I just buy books. It is just not worth having to deal with a can of worms that was opened WAY too soon!

Toni said...

Sadly, many of our public libraries are liberal minded in every sense of the word. I'm not sure reporting it would yield the desired outcome (though in good conscience, I would report it anyway.) When Fahrenheit 9/11 was out, our public library was going to show it. A citizen filed a lawsuit stating the library was tax-payer funded and should not engage in one-sided political activity, especially prior to an election. Even more disturbing was the head librarian's response. "I know my civil rights. I will NOT stop children from entering the viewing room, even if unattended. It is not my responsibility to police the library during public viewings, but rather each parent's responsibility to monitor the viewing activities of their child." Talk about a disgusting response.
p.s. the library won that lawsuit btw (agreeing to also run the film that criticized the filmmaker of F9/11.)

Hunnybee said...

You absolutely should say something. Just because something manages to get printed on paper, doesn't make it literature! I'm taking notes here so I can be prepared for when my children enter the realm of child/teen reading.


Oklahoma Granny said...

I really hope you do bring it to the library's attention. Even if you don't get the response you want, you've given them your opinion. More parents should do the same. It's the greasy wheels that get fixed. If people just sit back there's no chance books like that will be removed.

On another note. I know I'm probably one of the last to see the musical Wicked but I recently did and it was very good, light and entertaining. The book - absolutely NOT! I'm so afraid some teenager will see the musical and then read the book. It's has some sick, perverted stuff in it that no one should read. At least that's my opinion.

forgetfulone said...

I completely agree with you. We were in the bookstore tonight, and luckily, since I control the pursestrings, I can also control what books my daughter purchases. She might check them out from the library, but gosh, I hope not! I doubt the school library would have anything like that, and the public library - well - I control when we do that, too. It's sad for those that don't have parental involvement.

Oklahoma Granny said...

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SherieB said...

I turned in a book at our library that was in the juvenile section and was about a boy deciding he was gay. To my knowledge, they removed the book. You might have to fill out a form explaining your reasons.

eally said...

When my daughters were in high school, they had so many books they had to read every year. We had to purchase the books since they were in the IB program. I had always been very diligent about checking their text books and paperback books and reading whatever they had to read so I knew what they were being "taught." I was appalled, when during their sophomore year, they were assigned to read this book called Siddartha. It's about a teenage prostitute and is very graphic! I met with the teacher and told her she was going to have to pick out another book for the girls because that one was not acceptable...SHE called it literature!! I called it bordering on porn! My girls were assigned another book to read, but the other "children" in the class still had to read that book. It's so sad what they allow to infiltrate into the kids' minds by way of "literature"!